“Long rides, bike-to-run adventures, and exploring as much as I can”: Chatting adventure with Hillary Allen

At age seven, Hillary Allen experienced a wardrobe malfunction that nearly put her off boys for life. Running out on a local 5k, the leading runner was already on his way back towards the finish line. Unfortunately for young Hillary, something was horribly amiss with the man’s outfit. As she put it, “everything (and I mean everything) was hanging out.” Although it was a while before she had a crush on a boy again, ultimately, it didn’t put her off them. 

It didn’t put her off running either. Hillygoat, as she’s known on social media and in trail running circles, earned her nickname thanks to her agility and speed when it comes to running fast and far over mountainous terrain. A professional trail runner with big-name sponsors, she would run between 50 and 145 kilometers races. That is until she literally fell off a mountain. The accident has been covered widely in print and online, by brands, media, and Hillary herself. It’s a captivating story: successful pro athlete has life-threatening setback. How will she make it back from this?! 

But make it back she did, and then some. In addition to regaining her running strength, she picked up a new sport as part of her recovery training, one which also supports her goal to “explore as much as I can”.

Bike-to-run adventures

The said sport is cycling, gravel riding to be precise. A few years ago she walked into a bike shop in her hometown of Boulder, Colorado, and picked up a green two-tone gravel bike which she promptly named Kermit. And now, armed with Kermit and her trail running shoes, she’s pioneering her very own sport: bike-to-run adventures (which is exactly what it sounds like, ride to the trailhead, don the sneakers, run up, then down the mountain, and then ride back home).

The combo lets her explore in all-new ways, making space for what she loves most: exploring, “There’s always something new to explore, whether it’s a physical place or within myself. Going outside makes me feel like the best version of myself and it’s my favorite way to explore the world.” It’s also her favorite way to stay in shape. Her plans for the foreseeable future include “long rides, bike-to-run adventures, exploring as much as I can, in as many new places as I can. Even with no races, it’s my favorite way to train.”

The good, the bad, and the “spicy”

Apart from the exploration itself, the experiences she has along the way are all part of the fun, and the stories she has from the experiences make even the tougher times worth it: “One epic ride that sticks out the most is a gravel ride I did in Alta Badia, Italy. The gravel roads started out super nice, a bit steep in spots, but by the end it was full-on hike-a-bike on loose gravel at 20 -22% incline! But that wasn’t the most epic part. The descents were just as gnarly, and to make matters even more interesting, it started to rain two minutes into the ride. Four hours later I was completely frozen, making the descents extra spicy (I had to walk down a couple of sections). The warm shower at the end was the best reward!”

If you follow her you’ll know that Hillary does a lot of traveling, so she knows better than anyone that  it can be scary figuring out rides or runs to do in new places. “With komoot she can largely avoid unwanted surprises like her steep, wet Alta Badia ride. Komoot has all the info I need to make cool routes, combine loops, and keep me safe… and not lost!”

But whether she’s running in the Alps or doing a ride from her doorstep in Colorado, Hillary believes that adventure is all about perspective. “You don’t have to travel across the world to find the coolest trail run or ride in the world, maybe it is right in your backyard, but before now, you didn’t have the chance to explore it. That’s what keeps me motivated, no matter where I am, or if I’m racing or not.”

You can follow Hillary’s adventures on her komoot profile or check out the awesome Collection from her road trip around Utah here.